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Strengthening the back for deadlift

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  • Strengthening the back for deadlift

    What do you think are the best among these for strengthening my back? Best meaning they would be effective with a relatively lower risk for injury.

    Seated cable row
    Trap bar
    Cable
    Smith machine
    Lever machine
    Hyperextension

    Anything else not on this list?

    I hurt myself deadlifting and do not want to deadlift anymore. I'm willing to do other things to strengthen my back however. I will perhaps revisit the idea of deadlift in the future but not now.
    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

  • #2
    Trap bar is great.

    What kind of injury is it? Heavy bent-over rows really hit my whole back. Front squats, making sure to keep everything tight and tense.

    I know I'm missing a lot, but my brain is blanking, atm.

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    • #3
      RDL, SLDL, Good Morning, Weighted hyper.

      Trap bar's job is to largely diminish the back's contribution to the deadlift.
      The Champagne of Beards

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      • #4
        i may be crazy. i would still recommend DL but with lower weights. weight out your injury and start small.
        Few but ripe.

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        • #5
          i do weighted good mornings. i started with the bar, which is 20kgs, and am up to 45kgs right now. i do 5 sets of 10 supersetted with my deadlifts. i did 3 x 70kgs deadlift at the end today and i didnt feel it in my lower back. with the good mornings tho, i would even start with just a broomstick and concentrate on form if you have a sore back. i also do hyper flies with dumbbells and the odd straight legged deadlift with just the bar to warm up.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 70in2012 View Post
            i may be crazy. i would still recommend DL but with lower weights. weight out your injury and start small.
            i would agree with this, I've been doing squats this past few months and although my muscles probably could have jumped up faster i was getting a twinge in my right hand ribs at the back. My trainer said, sometimes the infrastructure and support take longer than the pure strength to get to a particular place. Sure enough, this week i managed failure with no back twinging,

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            • #7
              I'd second what Seaweed said about good mornings.

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              • #8
                To be honest, I don't think I will ever deadlift again. The pain I have now is sciatica. It gets worse every day. It started when my back fell apart a couple weeks ago on deadlift. I cannot trust myself to do deadlift properly. I feel that I have screwed up my future life as an old lady, the one I had all mapped out to be a series of adventures.

                In reality, I would never lift anything heavy in the manner of a deadlift anyway. Never have and never will. I would normally either do what you would do to flip a tire, which is to get underneath and push something up, or I would drag an item. Anything I actually lift by bending over is not heavy.

                Nevertheless, I will keep squatting and I'm not averse to continuing to strengthen my back and body in other ways.
                Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                  To be honest, I don't think I will ever deadlift again. The pain I have now is sciatica. It gets worse every day. It started when my back fell apart a couple weeks ago on deadlift. I cannot trust myself to do deadlift properly. I feel that I have screwed up my future life as an old lady, the one I had all mapped out to be a series of adventures.

                  In reality, I would never lift anything heavy in the manner of a deadlift anyway. Never have and never will. I would normally either do what you would do to flip a tire, which is to get underneath and push something up, or I would drag an item. Anything I actually lift by bending over is not heavy.

                  Nevertheless, I will keep squatting and I'm not averse to continuing to strengthen my back and body in other ways.
                  Do the tire flips then.
                  The Champagne of Beards

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                  • #10
                    i'd be uber wary of tire flips. it's not nearly as controlled of a motion as a deadlift and 99% of people are doing them incorrectly to begin with. a proper tire flip, with a properly sized tire, should emulate a lineman getting down in to a 3/4 point stance, chest to tire, and driving forward with the legs in order to get the edge of the tire off the ground. the deadlift-style if tire flipping isn't ideal for most people (despite the fact that is what most people do) and definitely compromises the back ever so slightly.

                    to strengthen the posterior chain, i'd go with the sldl, rdl, good morning, hyper combo that RM mentioned. i'd also throw in glute-ham raises instead of just hyperextensions.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                      To be honest, I don't think I will ever deadlift again. The pain I have now is sciatica. It gets worse every day. It started when my back fell apart a couple weeks ago on deadlift. I cannot trust myself to do deadlift properly. I feel that I have screwed up my future life as an old lady, the one I had all mapped out to be a series of adventures.

                      In reality, I would never lift anything heavy in the manner of a deadlift anyway. Never have and never will. I would normally either do what you would do to flip a tire, which is to get underneath and push something up, or I would drag an item. Anything I actually lift by bending over is not heavy.

                      Nevertheless, I will keep squatting and I'm not averse to continuing to strengthen my back and body in other ways.

                      I have linked this on several occasions in the past and I'm gonna do it here SPECIFICALLY for you. If your sciatica is disc related then flexion work frequently exacerbates the condition. This exercise program is body weight only but helps strengthen the posterior chain quite well. The workout in the book is akin to what I would recommend in combination with chiropractic adjustments DURING a sciatic flare. You may do other exercises when the pain begins to recede, but this is the basis of a good starting point.

                      Foundation Training : Home

                      I didn't respond right away cause I figured you posted in Odds and Ends this time to get away from us

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                      • #12
                        No deadlift at all - has the world come to an end now??? But seriously, deadlifting is far from a must and a combination of other movements can even give better results for back hypertrophy and strength! Best exercise for upper lats is close grip Gironda lat pull on a pulley machine, or medium grip pull-down to chest. If you are VERY strong you can also do pull-ups with a pronated grip, but almost nobody is strong enough to isolate their lats by doing pull-ups anyway. Then you need to hit lower lats and traps and bent over rows standing on a block for more stretch is excellent, but it may affect lower back same as deadlifts, so chest supported T-bar rows or dumbbell rows with knee and hand on a bench is probably a better option. For lower back/posterior chain you can do reverse hyperextension on a roman chair or bent legged good-morning, but be careful if you have a lower back problem, remember that lower back will also be hit by other exercises such as squat…
                        Last edited by Gorbag; 08-01-2013, 09:50 AM.
                        "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

                        - Schopenhauer

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                        • #13
                          You know you want to DL again! No shame in starting over with just the bar if needed. Work on form. When it feels right add weight.

                          +1 for good mornings.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                            To be honest, I don't think I will ever deadlift again. The pain I have now is sciatica. It gets worse every day. It started when my back fell apart a couple weeks ago on deadlift. I cannot trust myself to do deadlift properly. I feel that I have screwed up my future life as an old lady, the one I had all mapped out to be a series of adventures.
                            I feel your pain (literally). I hurt my back in the gym over a year ago and I still have some lingering numbness down one leg. For a couple days after the injury, the pain in my back was awful (had to sleep with a leg thrown over the back of the sofa) and one day my leg felt like it was on fire for several minutes. Sometimes it feels like you've "ruined" yourself and you'll never recover, but don't lose hope! I am no longer limited in what I can do physically and my pain is no worse than it was before my catastrophic injury. In fact, it doesn't bother me at all most days.

                            For continuing recovery, I think it's really important to focus on your posture, since you're probably standing, sitting, or walking 99% of the time. And mobility can also be huge. I like "Becoming a Supple Leopard" by Kelly Starrett. I am also a fan of Eric Cressey. Here is a recent post:
                            4 Steps You Might Have Skipped in Your Strength Training Career | Eric Cressey | High Performance Training, Personal Training

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                            • #15
                              In my experience the majority of deadlift injuries are due to mobility issues of the hamstring and lower back. If you have a butt wink at the bottom of a squat, chances are you are setting yourself up to fail (injure yourself) on heavy deadlifts. I am aware of Justin L's "butt wink doesn't matter" argument; he's speaking specifically about back squatting, and low bar back squatting specifically. Deadlifts are a different ball game in my opinion.

                              Deadlifts should be engaging the posterior - hamstring, glutes as the primary drivers. Sure your core, biceps, lats come into play for stabilization -- but the bread and butter is your posterior. if your lower back is working on a deadlift - you are fucked.

                              To keep your lower back from engaging - it has to be decoupled from your posterior chain.

                              A good, simple test - at the bottom of an airsquat (using a pvc pipe for stability if required) move your knees "back" until your shins are perpendicular to the ground. Your chest and head should be "up" not facing the floor. Now push your hips further behind you. Is your back still flat? Do you feel your hamstrings as primarily engaged? Are your hamstrings pulling your lower back down? On lighter weight you can get away with engaging your lower back - on heavy weight though this will be the weakest link to your (posterior) "chain" - and the point of failure.

                              Often those using "good form" ("angry gorilla" - flat back, chest up, knees back -- on a standard deadlift) can still get injured without proper mobility.

                              Want to fix deadlift mobility issues? Do yoga. Or PM me for mobility exercises.

                              CF level 1 trainer
                              USAW level 1 sports performance coach
                              CF Kids certified trainer
                              ad astra per aspera

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